To Re-Sign or Trade Martin Hanzal

By Tim Waugh
Staff Writer

Even since before the first day of the 2016-2017 NHL season, speculations surrounding Martin Hanzal and his future in Arizona have been called into question. As a team in the later stages of a long rebuild, yearning to enter the competitive side of the league, what do you do with a 30-year-old, 6’6″ center about to enter unrestricted free agency? On one hand, he’s a type of player that realistically any team would love to have, but on the other, Hanzal has a few traits that some Coyotes fans think they would rather live without.

Keeping Him

One of the hardest things to find in the NHL is everything that Martin Hanzal embodies; a large, skilled centerman than can create offense and win face-offs proficiently. At any skill level, these players are valued by each and every team. What the Coyotes have in Hanzal is more than just points on a sheet, the style he brings to the team are what have made him a fan-favorite. The 2005, 17th overall pick is famous for his net-front presence on the power play, making the life of the defending goalie miserable as his defenseman are left to try and out muscle the towering Czech. Another area of the game he excels in is something that is never in low demand.

The man is skilled at taking face-offs, there is no denying this.

Martin Hanzal in top 25 in FO% by year:
2016-17: 53.7% 22nd in NHL
2015-16: 56.0% 13th in NHL
2013-14: 54.5% 18th in NHL
1/13/17, 1:50pm ET

Every coach will agree with this statement, “possession ultimately wins you games;” and Hanzal, using his size to his advantage in this area of his game by holding his own as one of the league leaders, is dazzling for prospective GM’s looking to go deep in the upcoming playoffs.

Now his offense leaves much to be desired for a guy logging 1st line minutes on a regular basis, but despite never potting more than 16 goals and breaking the 40-point plateau only twice in his career, he’s still one of the better point producers for the Coyotes in recent years for how many games he misses due to injury (we’ll get to that). This year he is on track to beat his personal best for goals in a season (has 15 as of Feb. 24th), and with the Coyotes youth around him slowly becoming more productive themselves, he will only get better by association.

The 30-year-old, “Glass Giant” Hanzal has an AAV of $3.1 mil, and will be looking at a raise to only $4-$5 mil at the very max. The point production just isn’t there to justify the kind of money a 1C typically makes and I doubt he would get a matching offer anywhere else in the league in this salary cap-ruled era, especially with how often he has been injured in the past. It seems that the corrective back surgery he received a few off-seasons ago fixed the majority of his recurring injury problems, which is a good thing, but the kind of style he plays and sheer size take a much bigger toll on a player’s longevity.

The ideal outcome of keeping Martin Hanzal would be if he re-signs in the offseason in a 3 year, $12 million deal, but it will probably be closer to 4 or 5 years.

Trading Him

Hanzal is one of the biggest (of the most plausible) names in the rumor mill this season, as the March 1st trade deadline creeps closer. It was reported by Pierre LeBrun of TSN that as many as 10 teams have inquired or shown interest in Hanzal at the end of January, that number has more than likely risen since due to demand and his play drastically improving as of late. Several teams are confirmed to have shown interest so far; Montreal, Minnesota and Chicago, to name a few. With GM John Chayka setting the asking price as high as a 1st round pick, a top prospect, and an additional pick (as per the reported deal with Montreal of said picks and prospect Michael McCarron) will teams bite? Chayka also has been quoted stating he “would rather get an NHL ready player in return for Marty.”

Hanzal is 30 years old, coming off a long deal and looking for a raise. Not a lot of contenders have room to re-sign him past this season, so him being purely a rental for a lot of teams will be a hard sell for that kind of price.

As Arizona fans, to have our cake and eat it too, trading Hanzal just to have him re-sign with us in the offseason would be astounding and not that unlikely. The salary cap is staying where it is next season, which means contenders who trade for his services will have a hard time re-signing him after their playoff campaign unless he takes a massive pay-cut.

Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Clayton Keller and potentially our 2017 1st round pick are our future 1C and 2C options going forward. Hanzal playing 2nd or dare I say 3rd line center behind one of these kids would bring depth to the roster we haven’t seen in years, but also trading him to bolster a position we need major help in (right wing comes to mind) could be an answer to our woes offensively.

Some potential trades for Hanzal.

C Martin Hanzal (50% of salary retained)

2017 conditional 2nd round pick (becomes 1st round pick if Chicago makes it to Western Conference Finals)
RW Ryan Hartman

This one is a bit tougher because Ryan Hartman is one of the few-remaining jewels in the Blackhawks system. The right-handed right winger has 24 points in 54 games this season, getting his first real good look at an NHL level. Having been cultivated by the Hawks for years and finally showing his value, Hartman has also been tied to Chicago due to his low AAV for his skill, but could he be separated from Chicago for the services of Hanzal?

C Martin Hanzal

2017 1st round pick
RW Alex Tuch

Tuch is the Wild’s 2014 18th overall selection, and putting up 12-15-27 in 37 games with Iowa (AHL). Another natural right winger the Coyotes sorely need when Vrbata and Doan retire. The Wild are stocked to the brim with prospects, and Tuch might just be the price of getting Hanzal to help them win their first Stanley Cup.

C Martin Hanzal

2017 1st round pick
RW Michael McCarron

As it has been discussed publicly before, no doubt the Canadiens want Hanzal’s help at center. Galchenyuk and Plekanec are their only decent options at center right now, and as much as I don’t think we need a player like McCarron even if he is a right winger, this trade can’t be denied as a probability.


What do the Bruins do with Malcolm Subban?

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By Rob Finney
Boston Bruins Writer
The former first-round pick Malcolm Subban is entering his final year in his entry-level contract, making him a restricted free agent come 2017-2018. With the expansion draft coming in 2017, the Bruins can only keep one goaltender, which will undoubtedly be Tuukka Rask. Due to Subban being a restricted free agent in 2017, it makes him eligible to be selected by the Las Vegas franchise. Just so everyone is clear, Las Vegas has 30 selections, and they have to choose one player from each team. One would have to think Vegas takes Subban over a defenseman like Adam McQuaid, especially when the goaltender is young, and has high potential, whereas McQuaid is a bottom pairing defenseman on a lousy contract. So what should the Bruins do? What are their options to make the most of Malcolm Subban, and not lose a decent prospect for nothing? Well, there are only three options:
            One: Let him go. Just let him go, and see what happens. For all we know, Subban is nothing more than an AHL starter, and Vegas just made a bad selection (which would mean the Bruins did too in 2012).
            Two: Don’t protect him, and hope for the best. Just pray. Just pray that Las Vegas likes Adam McQuaid on a bad contract more than a young goalie with a lot of potential.
            Three: Trade him. This is the most viable way of making the most of him and his value, as well as getting something back in return, instead of letting him go for nothing in the draft. Let’s pretend Sweeney knows this is the best way to go with Subban, and let’s look at what he’ll be looking at.
            Determining His Value: What’s Malcolm’s value? Well, let’s take a look. His GAA in Providence has gone up in every season (2.31, 2.44, 2.46). Ouch. His SV% in 3 seasons in the AHL went from .920, to .921, to .911. Not great, but, to be fair, the stats are about the same as goalies in the top 10 for both SV% and GAA. Also, most goalies in the AHL are over 25, while Subban is still only 22. So while his numbers aren’t the best, he’s still hovering in the area with the best goalies in the AHL, while also being one of the youngest in the league. So his trade value? Considering he’s in the top-15 goalies in the AHL, and also being 22, it’s fairly high. Not top-10 draft pick high, but late first to early second.
            Finding a Trade Partner: Great. Now we’ve determined what Malcolm Subban could get the Bruins. But what team(s) would be willing to deal for a young, potential starting goalie? Let’s brainstorm. There has to be a few filters. For one, the team can’t have a goalie they’ll definitely protect. Teams like Chicago and Boston can’t protect Subban because of Crawford and Rask. What would be the point of trading for Subban if he’ll be unprotected, right? Secondly, the team can’t have a goalie that is already locked in to be the goalie of the future. Teams like Winnipeg have Connor Hellebuyck to be their starting goalie in less than a few years (he looked very promising this season). So after applying that filter, what teams remain? Well, here are a few: Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Islanders, Ottawa, and Philadelphia. Since there are a few matches in the Western Conference, I’d doubt the Bruins would trade him to an Eastern Conference team. That being said, it leaves us with three teams. Calgary, Colorado, and Dallas.
            The Best Fit: The team I believe best fits, is the Colorado Avalanche. Currently in arbitration with a right-shot, puck-moving defenseman, the Avs don’t have a future in net beyond Semyon Varlamov. Also, seeing as their second-line center is former Bruin Carl Soderberg, they could use an upgrade at center as well. With signing David Backes, the Bruins have made Ryan Spooner somewhat expendable if the right deal came along. Well, maybe the Bruins could work some trade in where they receive Tyson Barrie (currently in arbitration), in exchange for Malcolm Subban and Ryan Spooner. Maybe the Bruins would have to throw in a bit more, but I’d think the Avs would have to at least listen to what the Bruins are saying if they started out with those two players.
             When it’s all said and done, it’s up to Don Sweeney and his staff to determine what to do with Malcolm Subban, but it’s obvious they can’t let a valuable, young goaltender walk away for nothing.

Evander Kane Trade is a No-Go

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By Chris Chilelli

Buffalo Sabres Writer


Over the past few weeks there have been some new rumblings about the Sabres looking to trade Evander Kane. It is well documented that Buffalo hasn’t been happy with Kane’s off the ice tactics, and as a fan of the team, neither am I. But you have to realize that Kane is still just 24-years-old and growing up. Sure, Kane has been in hot water twice now since being dealt to the Sabres, but neither time has led to criminal charges or real evidence.
But you also have to look at the hockey side of things for the Sabres and people calling for him to be traded. Kane is a unique talent that doesn’t come around too often. He is an incredible skater and has a knack to put the puck in the back of the net. After scoring 20 goals last year in an injury-plagued season, you have to realize that he is just scratching the surface. People forget that he missed more than half of the season before last year, so there was some definite rust, add that to the fact that he was on a new team in a new city and there is bound to be some growing pains.


Let me pose a serious question to every Sabre fan who has said that it is time to ship Kane out of town: who replaces him? It is crazy to me how quickly people forget that skilled players do not grow on trees. Sure, Buffalo has some talent up front with more to come in the next few years, but let me name you a few of the other left wingers Buffalo currently employs. Matt Moulson, Marcus Foligno, and Nic Deslauriers. Kind of makes you think twice about trading Evander Kane, it certainly makes a Kane trade nearly impossible to swallow as a Buffalo fan. People will argue that it won’t matter if Buffalo signs Jimmy Vesey, and my argument to them is: you’re wrong.
Vesey will be a talent in this league for years to come, but it is far from a guarantee that he chooses Buffalo, and it could also be a long shot that he mirrors the production of Kane in his rookie season. If Buffalo does land Vesey and keeps Kane, that pushes Tyler Ennis to the third line, that is starting to look like a playoff caliber lineup up front if you ask me. Another plus to keeping Kane around is that it allows Vesey to play some more sheltered minutes if he decides Buffalo is his best fit. I say this because matchups really do matter in the game today, and keeping Kane allows Vesey to see more favorable matchups.
Now I really believe that Kane needs to change his ways and show Buffalo that he is a part of the long-term solution here, but there is no realistic way that moving him makes this team better. The top-six that Tim Murray has worked so hard to make relevant would be crippled without Kane. Buffalo has a good shot to sneak into the playoff picture, but if the team decides to move Kane just to get him out of town, then Buffalo will be on the outside looking in for the sixth straight season come playoff time.

Rick Nash Moving to Cali?

By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Just like everyone else, I have no idea what’s going on in Jeff Gorton’s head. He’s made some pretty questionable decisions, like past Ranger management. But one has the assume the New York Rangers will be shopping Rick Nash who just hasn’t produced as they would like. The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks are rumored to be front runners in the Nash sweepstakes. Also, keep in mind Nash’s modified No Trade Clause, which states he can accept a trade to 12 teams he lists. That lowers the number of suitors.


If Nash is traded, he’s going to need replaced. And in free agency I just don’t see how it can be done. It’s rumored that the Rangers are looking at Stamkos, but I just don’t see that happening with their cap and the fact that Buffalo is rumored to be offering $12M.


In 60 games played this season, Nash scored 15 goals and 36 points. In the 5 games the Rangers played in the playoffs against the Stanley Cup Champion, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nash scored 2 goals and 2 assists.


Anaheim Ducks:

The Ducks are clearly interested in another forward. Rick Nash would be an interesting addition given his power forward style of play, which fits Anaheim’s style of play. But one has to wonder, with a new coach (sort of) and failures with the previous system, shouldn’t they go a different route?


The rumored price would be Cam Fowler. Straight up that makes sense for the Rangers. Not for the Ducks though. Fowler is pretty young and is still growing, and giving him up for an aging Nash who hasn’t produced, doesn’t seem likely. Maybe they could throw in a 3rd Round Pick. Although Gorton probably isn’t keen on that idea considering the Rangers have no 1st or 2nd Round Picks.


Hampus Lindholm’s name has come up as well. With the signing of Sami Vatanen to a 4-year $19.5M deal, that pretty much leaves Lindholm as the odd man out as an RFA against Anaheim’s struggling cap. That’s why Fowler is the most logical solution in a trade. Although, Lindholm’s rights could be traded away soon as a deal doesn’t seem very possible unless Anaheim decides to give up on forwards such as David Perron and Chris Stewart.


San Jose Sharks:

The Sharks are another team rumored to be interested. The defending Western Conference Champion is disappointed to say the least they couldn’t bring Lord Stanley to Northern California, and will be making changes to try and bring it home next year. Could this change also involve Nash? San Jose has a similar power forward system as Anaheim, only it seems to be working finally in San Jose. So they’ll be expected to stick with it.


The only player I can see San Jose wanting to trade is Paul Martin. He’s 35-years-old and has a cap hit of $4.85M. Not that he’s a bad player, but his cap hit is a little extreme. Plus, New York is looking for defense.


The other assets we should point most of our focus towards in San Jose’s 2nd Round Pick this year, and their 1st Round Pick next year. As stated previously, New York has no 1st or 2nd Round Picks this year. That means they may be looking for one. Maybe next year’s 1st plus Paul Martin for Rick Nash? Some might say that’s a bit pricey given Nash’s performance. They might also throw in this year’s 2nd if New York is willing to give up a 3rd. But then that leaves San Jose without 1st or 2nd Round Picks this year, which is something General Manager Doug Wilson would not want to do.


I don’t see any Nash trade happening very easily. I see Gorton wanting to shop him, but his value has gone down significantly, don’t expect the best return Ranger fans.

Who’ll Acquire Shattenkirk?

By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Kevin Shattenkirk, 27-years-old will not be part of the St. Louis Blues next year. Shattenkirk is currently making $4.25 million and will likely expect a hefty raise next year. St. Louis cannot take his cap hit any longer, and a bidding war is reportedly taking place between the Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Let’s explore what it would take for each team to acquire Shattenkirk. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s being reported that a deal isn’t closed to being reached between Shattenkirk and St. Louis.


Arizona Coyotes:

As explained in previous stories, the Coyotes have hired GM John Chayka, and he’ll be wanting to put his stamp on the team. Shattenkirk is an excellent right-handed defenseman who actually knows how to score. He got 88 points combined in his previous 2 seasons. Defense is something the Coyotes need to address and will likely address at this year’s draft with the likes of Olli Juolevi or Mikhail Sergachev.


But what about what they could do now? Chayka has already acquired the negotiating rights to Alex Goligoski, and it looks like he’s going to sign a 5 year deal. That’s evidence enough that Chayka isn’t only thinking about the future.


Let’s take a look at the possible defensive pairings should the Coyotes sign Goligoski and acquire Shattenkirk.


Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Kevin Shattenkirk

Alex Goligoski – Michael Stone (currently injured)

Klas Dahlbeck/Niklas Grossmann – Connor Murphy/Zybnek Michalek


Personally, if Shattenkirk is acquired, once Stone is recovered the Coyotes should look into trading Michalek again.


But what would Chayka be willing to give up? You’re mind probably automatically goes to the Coyotes’ 7th overall pick. While that seems obvious, I think Chayka is comfortable at 7. The Coyotes also have the 20th overall pick and two 2nd round picks. Maybe they could be involved. Maybe package the 20th overall plus a second round pick with a mid-low end prospect? It’s been reported that the Coyotes have received an impressive offer for the 7th overall. Could it be for Kevin Shattenkirk?


Maybe add a top-scoring forward for the right price (say Okposo, Ladd?) and the Coyotes look pretty good going into next season. It’ll be interesting to see what Chayka does with the Coyotes this summer.


Edmonton Oilers:

It’s no secret Edmonton needs an overhaul and help on the blue line. Shattenkirk would be a good fit in Edmonton. But what would the Oilers be willing to give up? They have the 4th overall pick as well as a 2nd and three 3rd round picks. It’s hard to imagine Shattenkirk going for the 4th overall straight up.


It’s going to be hard for the Blues to get the 4th overall straight up. Maybe throw in one of their 2nd/3rd round picks?


Edmonton’s current defensive lineup is just straight up bad. Adding a top D-Man is crucial. Let’s look at their lineup adding Shattenkirk.


Andrej Sekera – Kevin Shattenkirk

Oscar Klefbom – Andrew Ference

Brandon Davidson – Mark Fayne

Nikita Nikitin – Adam Clendening


Not perfect, but a definite improvement. Peter Chiarelli needs to look into this, especially considering that Sekera isn’t getting any younger.


Boston Bruins:

First off, I’m not really sure how Boston gets this done. They’re in a tight cap situation right now, so Shattenkirk would likely just be a rental. Boston isn’t exactly in a position to be renting players.


But let’s explore. They have 2 first round picks and 1 second round picks. Maybe they could package their late first and their second? Maybe even throw in the rights to an expiring contract to sweeten the pot? Also, I think they’d have to add Adam McQuaid in there somehow in order to get some cap relief. So maybe instead of the second round pick it’s the first and McQuaid? Not to mention McQuaid and Shattenkirk are both right-handed. This would then be considered an upgrade from McQuaid.


Let’s take a look at their potential lineup. This is assuming all the players listed in this lineup are re-signed somehow and McQuaid is involved in the trade.


Zdeno Chara – Kevin Shattenkirk

Torey Krug – Dennis Seidenberh

Joe Morrow – Kevan/Colin Miller


That’s an upgraded defense. It’ll be interesting to see if Boston can swing Shatty, especially given the fact that they have cap troubles and a lot of contract drama.


Toronto Maple Leafs:

The Toronto Maple Leafs are another rebuilding team looking in the now. The acquisition of goalie Frederik Andersen shows this. A solid defender could help their season next year. It’s rumored that they’re currently offering James van Riemsdyk to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Cam Fowler. Let me start off by saying that makes the most sense considering Anaheim is looking for another top-six forward. Also, St. Louis will likely not be interested in JVR due to cap issues.


What else could they trade? Obviously not the first overall, that’s not going anywhere. But they do have 2 second round picks and quite the prospect pool. I was thinking something along the lines of the 2 second round picks and Scott Harrington.


Let’s look at their prospective lineup with Shattenkirk:


Jake Gardiner – Kevin Shattenkirk

Jared Cowen – Morgan Rielly

Andrew Campbell – Matt Hunwick


Not great, but certainly an improvement from last year’s lineup. Also, they’d have to find a way to dump Stephane Robdias. But given their cap surplus, that’s not crucial.




Nugent-Hopkins Possible Destinations

By Andrew Muirhead

Staff Writer


Peter Chiarelli’s Edmonton Oilers are in desperate need of some blue line support, someone who can be a go-­to shutdown defender for years to come during this rebuild. It’ll most likely take one of the Oilers’ young superstars, Ryan Nugent-­Hopkins or Jordan Eberle to land said top blue­liner. Taylor Hall, who is most likely to be Edmonton’s next captain, will not be going anywhere. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl certainly aren’t going anywhere as they will be Edmonton’s future down the center. Due to Eberle’s poor performance since returning from injury, Nugent-­Hopkins is the player most likely to be moved. The former first overall pick will likely be on the move at or around the NHL Draft on June 24th. Let’s look at some possible destinations:


Nashville Predators:

The Predators are definitely in need of some top-­six scoring, knowing that second line center Mike Fisher is 36-years-old and will most likely not be in the league much longer. Nashville made an exchange during the 2015­-16 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, trading away Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen who they knew would be that first line center they’d been searching for, but they could be searching for more. Nashville obviously would not be willing to part ways with Shea Weber or Roman Josi, leaving a couple young-­guns named Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis. These two defensemen of the 2009 draft class had strong seasons with the Preds, Ekholm recording 35 points in 82 games with a plus 14 rating and Ellis with 32 points in 79 games with a plus 13 rating. Although neither have much top­-four experience, Edmonton will definitely show some interest during this year’s draft. This exchange could definitely address some needs for both teams, and not leave either in cap trouble for years to come.


Minnesota Wild:

The Wild have a handful of very slightly above average guys down the middle and could use the no-­doubt 1st or 2nd line center in Ryan Nugent-­Hopkins. Minnesota finished in the bottom half of the league for goals per game so they could definitely use a boost, and seeing as the 33 year old captain Mikko Koivu is only going to get older, this kind of acquisition becomes even more important for the future. The Wild have a surplus of young defensemen in their system, but most notably, Matt Dumba (RFA) and Jared Spurgeon. Dumba really proved himself this year as a top defenseman for the Wild who have now made the playoffs four straight years. I think Dumba’s rights will be of higher interest for Edmonton as he is 5 years younger than Spurgeon and has much more room to grow into an NHL superstar. The only issue with this deal is that the Wild will most likely have to free up some cap room for RNH’s $6M cap hit. Definitely possible that Coyle’s contract for $3.2M over the next 4 years would be moved to free up some room so the Wild can re­-sign some players. Although this exchange would benefit both organizations, I think Edmonton would be on the winning side of this deal as they would address a very big issue while throwing a guy into the mix that could possibly turn into an absolute beast for the Oilers in years to come.


Ottawa Senators:

The Sens are another team with a couple of slightly above average centers who have had to step up into the number 1 and 2 center roles. Obviously, Nugent­-Hopkins can be there to take up that top spot or maybe even the second. Nugent-Hopkins and Kyle Turris would make an excellent one-two-punch down the center. The Senators would probably have to give up 22-year-old defenseman, Cody Ceci in order to acquire their much needed 1st/2nd line center. Ceci posted a career best 10 goals and 26 points in 75 games as well as a plus 9 rating. He can be a solid defender in his own zone as well as some production on the offensive side for the Oilers. This will be a solid deal for both teams, although Ottawa will be taking in RNH’s hefty contract of $6M for the next 5 years, they will still be left with about $11.5M to resign players.

Possible Trade: Edmonton trades Number 4 Overall to Montreal

By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

It’s no secret that the Oilers are shopping the 4th overall pick. I believe that they will either want to pick Jakob Chychrun, Olli Juolevi, or Mikhail Sergachev. Montreal on the other hand wants to draft Pierre-Luc Dubois. Edmonton can have their pick at any one of the three defenders at number 4 overall, but they believe that they can move down and still have one available.

Should they move down to number 9, which is the pick Montreal owns and would likely be the foundation of any trade with Edmonton, they would probably only have one choice available. Arizona and Buffalo have the number 7 and 8 picks respectively, and are expected to select defensemen.

Montreal would not be able to select Dubois at 9, as Vancouver is expected to select him. If Vancouver doesn’t select him I fully expect Dubois to be chosen by Calgary.

Montreal has needed a playmaking scoring forward for quite some time. With Dubois they could finally have him.

As for Edmonton, they need a good defensive prospect, as they have basically none other than Griffin Reinhart. At 9, they probably won’t be getting their first choice, or second choice, but Chychrun, Juolevi, and Sergachev are all great D-men with great futures, so they should be able to settle.

Obviously those two assets wouldn’t be the only two involved. Maybe one of Montreal’s second round picks and a prospect? Depending on the value of the whatever prospect Montreal would be willing to give up that second round pick could change into a third round pick.

In the end, I think both teams would benefit from this trade. Edmonton can move down and still pick a quality defenseman while picking up some assets, and Montreal would get a puck-smart playmaking forward in Dubois.